The Security of The Believer–Not the Unbeliever # 2
QUESTION: A good/sincere student of the Bible writes: “My question of the day is something I’ve been studying on and I wanted to know your thoughts on it. I’ve believed all my life that once I get sincerely born again and know it for sure, that I could never lose my salvation by disqualifying myself by slipping up and sinning. Everyone sins every day right? What if I was born again and sinned for whatever reason and had no time to repent of it or ask forgiveness, and a truck hit me and I died. Would I go to hell because I didn’t have enough time to ask forgiveness? Is once saved always saved true?”
ANSWER: I, too, believe in the security of the BELIEVER. A BELIEVER is one who trusts in, and relies on, the sacrifice of Jesus to save him and his faith shows itself in seeking to follow the Lord and do His will (Jam. 2:17-18). I believe that all BELIEVERS do sin (I Jn. 1:8), but the blood of Jesus keeps us clean from our sins ( I Jn 1:7). I do not believe that God counts the sins of a BELIEVER against him, because they are continually forgiven by the sacrifice of Jesus (II Cor. 5:18 -19). Therefore, if a BELIEVER “sinned and had no time to repent of it and ask for forgiveness and a truck hit him and he died”, I do not believe that he will be lost. God does not impute or reckon sin to a BELIEVER (Rom. 4:8).
I believe that once a sinner becomes a BELIEVER (born again of water and the Spirit, Jn. 3:3-5) that he is always in a saved state as long as he continues to believe. In I John 5:13 the Bible says:
These things I have written to you who believe in the name of the Son of God, that you may know that you have eternal life, and that you may continue to believe in the name of the Son of God. (NKJV)
In Revelation 2:10, Jesus said “Be faithful (i.e. continue to trust in Me) until death and I will give you the crown of life.” Why tell them to “be faithful” if being faithful is not necessary? If they were going to get the “crown of life” anyway, why did He say “be faithful”?
Therefore, the question we need to consider is: “Can a BELIEVER (one who trusts in Jesus) become an “UNBELIEVER” (one who quits trusting in the sacrifice of Jesus)? Can a person who is “faithful” become “unfaithful”?
There are plenty of verses in the Bible that clearly say that a BELIEVER can become an unbeliever. A person who is a BELIEVER AND KNOWS IT FOR SURE can quit trusting (believing) in Jesus, turn his back on Jesus, go back into the world of rebellion and sin, fall from grace, and be lost eternally.
Note the following verses from the letter to the Hebrew BELIEVERS:
Hebrews 3:1 Wherefore, holy brethren, partakers of the heavenly calling, consider the Apostle and High Priest of our profession, Christ Jesus;
Observe that these were H0LY brethren and partakers of the heavenly calling.
Then observe also what the writer said to these saved people:
Hebrews 3:12 Take heed, brethren, lest there be in any of you an evil heart of unbelief, in departing from the living God.
Observe carefully, that these “holy brethren” who were “partakers of the heavenly calling” were warned that “any” of them could have “an evil heart of UNBELIEF” and depart from God.
Note also, in the book of Galatians, what is said about how some had “become estranged” or “alienated” from Christ. Some had quit trusting in His sacrifice and started trusting in their law keeping to save them. Therefore Paul wrote in Galatians 5:4: You have become estranged from Christ, you who attempt to be justified by law; you have fallen away from grace. (NKJV). The NIV has: You who are trying to be justified by law have been alienated from Christ; you have fallen away from grace.
Observe that he did not say, imply, or insinuate that they could not fall from grace, but rather he said, “you have fallen away from grace”. It is also interesting that the only time the Bible specifically uses the phrase “falling away from grace” it was because some had fallen from grace.
Therefore, it seems to me that the Bible clearly teaches that it is possible for a Christian to turn away from Christ and be lost eternally because of it.
However, I do not believe that one can, or will, “lose his salvation by slipping up and sinning” as long as he does not lose his faith in Jesus. But it is possible (and it has happened) that Christians have lost their faith and have quit trusting in Him at all. They now have no faith in Him as is evidenced by the fact that they have quit the church altogether and live lives just like those in the world (who do not and never have trusted in Him).
I am well aware of the numerous passages that teach that the BELIEVER is secure in Christ. (Such as: Ps. 37:23-24; Jn 5:24 & 10:27-30; Rom. 8:38-39; Heb. 13:5; Jude 1:1, etc.). I believe these verses are true and that the BELIEVER (one who continually trusts in and seeks to follow Christ) is secure. However, I do not believe in the security of the unbeliever (one who has never trusted in Christ, or one who ceases to trust in Christ).
Almost every book of the New Testament teaches that a BELIEVER must continue to believe in, and follow Christ, or else, he will be lost. For example, read the following verses:
Matthew 25:14-30 One of His servants was lost.
Mark 13:13 He who endures to end will be saved.
Luke 8:13 Some believe for a while, then fall away.
Luke 15:11-31 A son was lost and is found.
John 15:1-5 One who does not abide (continue/remain) in Him is cast into fire.
Acts 1:25 Judas by transgression fell.
Acts 8:13-24 Simon (a believer) could perish if he did not repent.
Romans 8:13 Christians who live after flesh die spiritually.
I Corinthians 8:11 A brother can perish for whom Christ died.
I Corinthians 10:12 Saints must take heed lest they fall.
II Corinthians 6:1 Saints can receive grace in vain.
Galatians 5:4 Some had fallen from grace.
Ephesians 5:3-7 Wrath will come on sons of disobedience.
Philippians 3:12-14 Christians must keep reaching & pressing.
Colossians 1:22-23 Saved only if we continue in the faith.
I Thessalonians 3:1-8 We live if we stand fast in the Lord.
II Thessalonians 2:15 Christians must stand fast.
I Timothy 1:19-20 Some had their faith to shipwreck.
II Timothy 4:10 Demas forsook Paul having loved this present world.
Titus 3:8 Believers must be careful to maintain good works.
Philemon 1:5 Why mention faith if he did not have to keep it.
Hebrews 6:4-6 & 10:26-29 Some fall away and forsake.
James 5:19-20 A Brother who errs from truth must be saved from death.
I Peter 4:19 Christians must commit souls to Him by doing good.
II Peter 1:10 Christians must take heed lest we fall.
II Peter 2:20-22 Saints can go back into world and be overcome by it.
I John 5:16 Christians can commit a sin unto death.
II John 1:9-11 We must abide in the teaching of Christ.
III John 1:4 Christians must walk in truth.
Jude 1:5 He saved them, then destroyed those who did not believe.
Revelation 3:5 Our name can be blotted out of the book of life. THESE ARE JUST SOME OF THE MANY VERSES THAT STATE (OR IMPLY) THAT BELIEVERS MUST CONTINUE TO BELIEVE IN ORDER TO CONTINUE TO BE BELIEVERS.
I know some who say, “If you got it, you can’t lose it, and if you lose it, you never had it”. I personally see no comfort, or security, in this statement. If this statement is true, then it seems to me that one would have to wait and make sure he did not lose it to know whether or not he ever had it!
However, the Hebrew Christians had it (Heb. 3:1), and were warned time and again that they could lose it if the forsook Christ, crucified Him afresh, counted His blood (that had sanctified them) an unholy thing and had an evil heart of unbelief. (See Heb. 2:1-3; 3:12-13; 6:1-6; 10:25-29; & 12:25).
Also, I have heard something like: “If one’s faith fizzles before the finish, then it was flawed from the first.” Neither do I see any comfort, or security, in this statement. If this statement is true, then, it would seem to me, that one would have to wait until the finish to know if his faith was flawed or not. If it fizzles then it is flawed, and if it does not fizzle then it is not flawed. But we will have to wait until the finish to see if we really have fizzling faith or finishing faith.
And to answer your last question: “Is once saved always saved true?”
Yes! A BELIEVER is always saved as long as he is a BELIEVER. But when one ceases to believe, then he ceases to be a BELIEVER and he will be lost. I believe that God is “able to keep you from stumbling” (Jude v. 24) and I believe that He will. However, He only keeps those who want to be kept. Therefore Believers have the responsibility to “keep yourselves in the love of God” (Jude v. 21) by continuing to trust in Him for salvation. I hope this helps.
G & P Ministries